As you well know, none of our meals at the Valley Café would be possible without the help of local farmers. The food industry generally defines “local sourcing” as grown within 150 miles from where the food is consumed. In past posts I have written about local farmers in New York but, based on the 150 mile rule, local farms can also be from other states. This week the Valley Café comes from Connecticut.
Many of the vegetables in tomorrow’s Ukrainian meal (such as the bell peppers) come from Cecarelli Farms in Northford, CT. The Cecarelli family first came to America in 1912 from Caserto, Italy when Frank Cecarelli decided there was an opportunity to make a living as a farmer in the United States. A family tradition was born and Frank passed the farming lifestyle on to his eight sons and four daughters. A big family and their many hands were needed to help maintain the land.
Last September the farm celebrated 100 years of family farming. Today, Frank’s grandson Nelson and great-grandson Nelson Jr. grow seasonal vegetables like peppers, eggplants, tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, green beans and green peas on 140 acres of land. In an interview with FreshPoint Connecticut (the wholesale company who sources from the farm and brings the produce to Marist), Nelson expressed the satisfaction that comes through hard work on the farm: “Every day here is different, every season is different. There’s always variation from year to year and it’s so rewarding when you overcome adversity and have a crop come through.”
This week’s local farm is especially exciting for me because of its relation to my home in Connecticut. The Northford farm is located right next to my hometown and is a mere 10 minute drive away. I have never been to Cecarelli Farms before, but now that we have a connection I am much more interested in paying them a visit. I expect my meal at the Valley Café tomorrow to be that much more delicious now that I know there is a special taste of home in it.
Join us at tomorrow’s Valley Café from 11:30-1:30 for a chance to visit the Ukraine and honor the Cecarelli family through the Eastern European menu.
We look forward to seeing you there!
Please Note: Many other ingredients in this week’s Ukrainian meal were also sourced locally from Thomas E. Baggot farm and other farms associated with FreshPoint Connecticut.
(Pictures courtesy of Cecarelli Farm, Newmans Own Foundation and Fairfield Green Food Guide)